One-Hit Wonders: Crabby Appleton


Crabby Appleton is a now-defunct American pop-rock band from Los Angeles, California. Singer-songwriter Michael Fennelly (formerly of Millennium) founded the band during the late 1960s, and also became its frontman. In the early 70s music scene the band achieved a Top 40 hit with “Go Back.” They didn’t have any hits further, leading them to be called as a “one hit wonder.” The song’s popularity among oldies music lovers in particular has eclipsed the band’s.

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When and how did Crabby Appleton form?

Crabby Appleton was a Los Angeles, California, based rock group founded by Michael Fennelly (born on April 4, 1949 in New York). Fennelly was previously with another band The Millenium, a sunshine pop outfit who recorded one album, Begin.
Fennelly was also Crabby Appleton’s principal songwriter, and the lineup was rounded out by bassist Hank Harvey, keyboardist Casey Foutz, percussion Felix “Flaco” Falcon, and drummer Phil Jones. The group was initially named as Stonehenge but re-named themselves as Crabby Appleton, after a Tom Terrific cartoon character.

Short-lived career, and only hit with “Go Back”

Crabby Appleton signed a contract with Elektra Records where they later recorded their eponymous debut album, which was assisted by producer Don Gallucci. One of the album’s tracks, “Go Back,” was made as the single. Both the album and its single were released in 1970.

“Go Back” became a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 at #36 in 1970. The album, Crabby Appleton, made it to #175 on the Billboard 200 album chart. On the strength of the considerable success of the single, the band served as an opening act for the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, Guess Who, George Carlin and ABBA, among others.

The band tried to follow up the success of their first records by releasing their sophomore effort Rotten to the Core but it didn’t live up to their expectations due to dismal sales. Soon Crabby Appleton disbanded and eventually went down to history as a one-hit wonder.

After Crabby Appleton

The former band members of this classic rock and pop band went to their separate musical pursuits following their dissolution. Fennelly embarked on a solo career and recorded two albums Lane Changer and Stranger’s Bed from the early to mid-1970s. He also went to work with other artists such as Steely Dan. Fennelly now resides in Portland, Oregon.
Jones, meanwhile, has continued to work with various bands such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Roy Orbison, among others.